3 Key X-factors for the Milwaukee Bucks down the stretch in 2024

Milwaukee Bucks v Los Angeles Lakers
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The Milwaukee Bucks have improved in many areas since head coach Adrian Griffin was fired on January 23.

The bench play has stepped up, as players like Patrick Beverley, Bobby Portis, and Pat Connaughton elevated their game, which was among the catalysts for Milwaukee going on a six-game win streak coming out of the All-Star Break.

Enough cannot be said for how Milwaukee has looked defensively. Since the team acquired Beverley at the NBA Trade Deadline, he's helped turn the defense around to where Milwaukee no longer has five traffic cones out there.

Milwaukee's team defense has gone from being one of the worst-league wide to one of the better, which is indicative of the work Doc Rivers and his staff have put in by staunchly improving the team's defensive effort game-by-game.

Milwaukee's bench players need to continue their exceptional play, and these are three players should rely on heading down the stretch.

1- Patrick Beverley

The one player who has helped change the culture of the team.

Since Patrick Beverley was acquired on Feb 8 for Cameron Payne and a second-round pick, the team has had a seismic shift from all-offense and no defense to all-defense and more efficient offense.

Cameron Payne was a score-first guard who didn't look to set other guys up. Patrick Beverley is a pass-first guard who has helped Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton, AJ Green and Jae Crowder flourish in their roles on the team.

Beverley isn't known as an instant offense player, but his tenacity on defense and leadership help bring a winning culture to every team he's on.

The Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and Philadelphia 76ers added Beverley because those teams knew they would get 110 percent effort every night from him, and those teams took on a winning mentality every night because of him.

Early in the season, Milwaukee didn't have that coach or player to help them collectively play as a team; the team was hunting high-offensive numbers and winning games by talent. With the addition of Beverley, the team is more together, and outside of the recent two-game losing streak, they were playing its best basketball of the season thanks to culture shifter Patrick Beverley.

For Beverley to continue to be an X-factor, he has to add that extra tenacity on the defensive end. Offensively, he has to become somewhat of a threat down the stretch because teams will key in on Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Everyone coming off the bench will need to step up so that the scoring load can be taken off those three guys.